By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT 2.0 Hits
Bron Breakker vs. Gunther for the NXT Championship: I’m giving the NXT creative forces the benefit of the doubt by assuming that there’s a good reason why they gave this match away without any build or advertising. It was an interesting night all around for Imperium, so something is happening, and hopefully we’ll see a promotion for Gunther on Friday or Monday, though I don’t really understand why they wouldn’t want to bring up the entire Imperium trio. The actual match was fun. It was a good match that lacked the drama needed to be labeled as something more than that.
Joe Gacy: Finally. The final shot of Rick Steiner locked in a cage was a little cheesy, but I’m all for Gacy moving into a meaningful program. The PC elements of his character were good for some mainstream attention when it debuted. They have become a burden in that it doesn’t seem like creative has found a compelling way to do more with it, so hopefully they drop those elements and simply take the character to a darker and more sinister place. This should be fun.
Cameron Grimes and Solo Sikoa: Grimes delivered a good championship win speech. Sikoa congratulating him and then challenging him to a match was also well done. And just when it looked like they were setting up a friendly match, the intense pull-in handshake moment occurred. Sure, we’ve seen it all before, but it really worked well in this case and left me looking forward to their NXT North American Championship match next week.
Julius Creed and Brutus Creed vs. Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner: It was an interesting twist to see Aichner walk out on Barthel. I am high on the singles upside of both men, but they are two-thirds of Imperium and are such a good tag team that it was a surprising development. Then again, maybe Aichner saw his partner’s bloody eye after the accidental headbutt and decided he had enough of this shit. Okay, probably not. Anyway, the reveal of the Pretty Deadly tag team as the mystery attackers of the Creeds was unexpected fun. I’m not sure what the storyline logic will be for their attack, nor do I understand the Boston phone number clue in retrospect (something probably sailed over my head), but they are a good team and it will be fun to see them work with some of the North American NXT tag teams.
Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez vs. Jacy Jayne and Gigi Dolin for the NXT Women’s Tag Titles: The pre-show match and the main event of Stand & Deliver really didn’t mean much since they ran back both matches and had the losers from WrestleMania weekend win the television rematches. Even so, this was a good match aside from the poor finish with a kick that didn’t even come close to Gonzalez’s face. Aside from that botch, this was a better match than these four had on Saturday morning.
Tony D’Angelo and AJ Galante: Yes, time stood still when AJ forgot his lines. But you’re f’n crazy if you think I’m putting Jimmy Galante’s son in the Miss section. If you want to see an alleged mob story combined with goon hockey and even some of your favorite WWE legends, watch the highly entertaining Netflix documentary Untold: Crime and Penalties. I hope you found that to be a suitable plug, Mr. Galante [kisses the ring].
NXT 2.0 Misses
Dexter Lumis vs. Duke Hudson: The corny couples feud continued with a groaner of a count-out finish that was booed by the live crowd. This might be getting social media love, but I’m over it. I can’t imagine this is going away anytime soon because of the numbers it’s doing via social media, but I continue to hope that Hudson will eventually be pulled from the comedy in favor of a meaning heel singles push.
Nikkita Lyons vs. Lash Legend: Legend’s ring work just isn’t ready for prime time. To her credit, she showed some improvement in this match compared to her past outings, but there’s a lot of work to be done. Legend is a good talker and both she and Lyons are charismatic. They both have good upside potential and are simply in need of additional raining and more reps.